2009 January: Weegena (Tas) Timber Plantations spraydrift concerns

Gunns denies residents poisoned by aerial spraying


Timber company Gunns has rejected claims residents in northern Tasmania have been poisoned by aerial chemical spraying.

A number of people who attended a sustainable farming meeting at a property at Weegena, near the Mersey River, say drift from spraying has made them sick.

Neil Graham’s property is next to a Gunns plantation and he says he went outside for a closer look at the spraying.

“Within about 20 minutes, I had an irritation within my lungs and probably within half an hour of that, you could smell it,” he said.

He says his symptoms got worse overnight.

While a Gunns spokesman says there is no basis to the claims, acting Greens leader Kim Booth says there is photographic evidence to prove the company was in breach of regulations.

“These photos clearly show a helicopter that is spraying in contravention of the regulations and spraying adjacent to a river, which is a drinking water supply for many Tasmanians,” she said.

“It also contaminated the air shed; it goes for miles and miles and miles, the spray drift.”

The Department of Primary Industries is investigating the incident.